Tag Archives: Newfoundland

Cycling Atlantic Canada

Here is a map of our  final route.
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We rode 1900km in a month, and still managed to put on weight from eating far too much fish and chips.

See details of this trip on our Cycling Pages.
See a photos of this trip on Flickr.

Ending with a Flourish

Friday, August 19, 2011

2011/08/17: 85 km to Witless Bay

As we left the dry haven of our efficiency unit, Daniel quipped that the hoped the next tenants weren’t Muslims or Jews. We’d cooked and eaten an entire pound of bacon, not to mention three fried eggs each. With no fume hood, the place smelled strongly of our hearty breakfast.

We went a short way to the tiny, archaic Museum of Sealing and Whaling, which consisted of Continue reading

Foul Weather

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2011/08/15: 106km to Arnold’s Cove
We started early, and as we rolled along the shoulder of the Trans-Canada, all I could think of was the song by The Arrogant Worms that goes “We’ve got rocks and trees and trees and rocks and rocks and trees and trees and rocks…..” (Click here and press arrow for song) The island of Newfoundland is bigger than Ireland, smaller than England, and has a population of fewer than half a million souls. There was virtually no access to the interior until the 1960s. The emptiness goes on and on. We put our miles in.

P1030167We stopped to pose with Morris the Moose outside the visitors’ centre in Goobies. Morris was the only moose we saw, despite the island being literally overrun by them. Moose were deliberately introduced from Nova Scotia in the 1930s as a food source, and since a bounty system meant they’d finished killing all the wolves a decade earlier, the moose did very well. Too well.

We passed the big oil refinery at Come by Chance, and dove into The Tanker Inn, frequented by drilling crews at Arnold’s Cove just as it began to rain. It rained hard all night.

2011/08/16: 69km to South Dildo
P1030173It was raining as we left, and the rain steadily increased as we rode. Water trickled inside our wet weather gear from above, splashed up from below, and drenched us in heavy sheets from the side as trucks passed us. Some hours later, we pulled into a “K” restaurant for lunch, and the waitress brought new place-mats because we’d drenched the table as we undid our clothes. She also got a mop to dry the floor near our chairs, in case someone slipped.

We discussed our options, and decided to get a room at the motel beside the restaurant. To our great disappointment, however, it had no room left. The visitor’s centre helped us find the next nearest haven against the horrid weather: an “efficiency unit” in South Dildo, 12 km to the north. Daniel wanted to go there anyway so we could see a small whaling and sealing museum  the next morning, so off we went, crossing  slurries of brown water that washed across the road where creeks had overflowed.

Stopping to buy food to make darned sure we wouldn’t have to go out again, we rode up a gravel track to our unit and began to spread out our gear. We had two bedrooms and a living room, there were loads of hooks on the wall, and there was even a washer and dryer. What a relief!

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Still on Side Roads

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

P1030070P10300802011/08/09: 81km to Bishop’s Falls
We were at the government dock to meet Mike Roberts at the appointed 9:00 a.m.. The “speedboat” that had been proposed was vetoed for a variety of reasons, and we loaded our bikes onto Mike’s long-liner for the crossing. Chatting to Mike and his father made for a relaxing journey, with good views from the top of the cabin. We watched two minke whales, whales apparently being known locally as grumpuses. (Note: If one whale is a grumpus, I don’t think two are grumpi. The origin of the word is distinctly Newfie and not latin.)

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We disembarked in Leading Tickles. (Note: A tickle here is a strait or narrow sea passage) We rose on to Bishop’s Falls, got two rooms in an inn, and went out to a Cantonese restaurant. I have no problems with sleeping indoors, as the weather is getting worse and worse.
2011/08/10: 103km to Boyd’s Cove
P1030099We rode on to Boyd’s Cove, where Daniel had an invitation from a colleague. Eileen and Gordon’s cottage is down a tiny gravel road. They welcomed us all warmly, and Eileen fed us well. Gordon’s family is from here, so they come for summers. Lots of cousins dropped by, as did a string of  colourful neighbourhood characters who may have been using “meeting the visitors who arrived by bike from Bishop’s Falls” as a thin cover for cadging another beer from a generous household. Pugs named Bob and Fergus held court in the living room when they weren’t managing to slip outside to gorge themselves on fish entrails.
2011/08/11: 78km to Gander
In the morning, we visited the Beothuk Interpretation Centre, a provincial government site that documents the life of the local aboriginal people as pieced together from a partially excavated local village. The Beothuk did not do well after contact with European fishermen, and the last Beothuk, a woman named Shanawdithit, died of tuberculosis in St. John’s in 1829.

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On we rode to Gander, as the rain began to pelt down. There, we met our great niece, Daniel’s niece, four month old Anna, for the first time, and Mark and Alice made us an excellent dinner.
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Now we are Three

Monday, August 15, 2011

2011/08/06: In Deer Lake
We spent a slow day in Deer Lake. Daniel assembled his bike while we dutifully cleaned our drive trains, and then we test rode to town to mail Daniel’s duffel bag forward to St. John’s, and had naps to make up for Daniel’s post-midnight arrival. Lindsay had given us a lesson in the addition and subtraction of h in Newfie dialect: Heavenly Hash Ice Cream becomes ‘eavenly ‘ash hoyscream. This primer served us well; when Chris was offered happle poy we knew exactly what was meant.

2011/08/07: 102km to Powerline Camp near 410 Junction

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A  large nephew makes a good windbreak

Chris and I had upgraded to a so-called three man tent before this trip, and Daniel, who is not especially fond of camping, arrived equipped with a sleeping bag, thermarest, and an emergency bivouac sack. Chris and I were to initiate him into the freedom and spontaneity of travelling with camping gear, so as evening came, we pushed our bikes up a track to the powerline, noting that no vehicles had been by recently but that quite a few moose had.

After an excellent shrimp stir fry, we slotted our three selves carefully into the tent. Chris and I had been using it as a relatively luxurious two-man tent since Moncton, and although the diagram showed the middle person with head placed the opposite way round to the outer people, the reality was that this arrangement would have placed the middle person’s head lower than his feet, so we vetoed that and placed all heads near the tent door. The middle person was Daniel, because he’s quite a bit longer than either me or Chris. We swatted insects, the swarms having thinned a little since Port aux Basques, and tried to go to sleep.

2011/08/08: 88km to Triton
There aren’t many route options for cycling across Newfoundland. Basically, nearly anywhere you try to deviate from the Trans-Canada end up reaching a small outport at a deadend. However, the map showed two coastal deadends that weren’t very far apart, and Daniel had set to the task of finding out whether we could connect by boat from Triton to Leading Tickles. He’d written to the town of Triton and been put in touch with a fisherman who was prepared to transport us the eleven kilometres by water, so we turned off the Trans-Canada and headed to Triton.
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We arrived early enough to spend time at the new sperm whale exhibit, where the enthusiastic guide talked our ears off and barely gave us time to look at the displays. The main feature is a sperm whale skeleton, which hangs in a bright new building. The whale carcass had washed up on the Codroy Peninsula near Port aux Basques, and once most of the meat and blubber was removed, the bones were sunk in crates in local waters to let marine creatures pick them fairly clean. Then everything was shipped to Drumheller, Alberta, where experts at the Royal Tyrrell Museum used their dinosaur expertise to conserve and reconstruct the skeleton.
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Our fisherman would do the crossing in the morning, so we parked ourselves at Fudge’s Motel. Daniel had slept very badly in the tent and Chris and I had certainly not slept well either. It seems we all snore.
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